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You glance inside one tent as you walk by. Two packets of sliced meat are swiftly covered by a man who turns and smiles at you, as if embarrassed. To have your own food here – even a small amount – is a symbol of independence; of not needing to rely on the meagre handouts that are available (the camp never has enough food to feed all of its inhabitants on any given day), and
                  Hamid, Afghanistan If I could say one thing to the UK government I would say instead of spending so much money on fences and police*, spend it on refugees instead. (more…)
In late afternoon, you walk again between the camp’s central point and its eastern edge. In the watery early winter sunlight, and surrounded by thousands of people whose seemingly hopeless situation – unable to return home and unable even to apply to enter the UK – threatens to overwhelm you, you have the sensation of being submerged; of simultaneously being hindered and borne up as if attempting to walk on a sea-bed. (more…)
‘I live in a little village by the sea. It is out of the real world. This camp, here, is part of the real world. ‘The real world is dictators. It is trouble, fighting and war. I cannot live near the real world and not be a part of it. I cannot turn away and not be a part of it.’ (more…)
                  Osman, Northern Iraq I came here yesterday. I had been in Paris with my family. They went to the UK, but I cannot get to the UK yet, so I had to come here. (more…)
Former Labour Prime Minister of the UK, Harold Wilson, once said ‘a week is a long time in politics’. It is thought he was talking about the sterling crisis of 1964, though in 1977 he claimed ‘not to remember’ precisely when he said it. (more…)
I began the week with a public talk I gave about Libya and the wider international refugee crisis, in part to publicise my book, The Toss of a Coin: voices from a modern crisis. (more…)
It is distressing to be forced, once again, to discuss slaughter. But last Saturday morning (10 October), at 10.04am, two explosions killed at least 99 people – though unofficial figures, which may in fact be more reliable, suggest the number of dead could be as high as 128 – in Ankara, Turkey’s capital city. More than 400 more were injured in the blast. (more…)
“Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.” Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 14(1) (more…)
Last summer, I discussed the situation in Syria with a young Syrian man who was working to deliver aid to the people of Aleppo. We spoke via Skype on a Thursday afternoon, concluding our conversation at 5.30pm UK time, (7.30pm Syrian time), and promising to speak again on Saturday (the Syrian ‘weekend’ being Friday, the day on which people attend Mosque). (more…)

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